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Our gas policy won’t change, Berejiklian tells PM

13/02/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has rebuffed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s calls for NSW to open areas of the state to gas production that are currently off-limits, declaring the state’s policy “will not change”.
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A day after Mr Turnbull renewed his attack on NSW and Victoria over restrictions on gas mining, Ms Berejiklian said the Commonwealth “can say what it likes, but we need a national approach”.

On Wednesday Mr Turnbull announced the government had reached an agreement with Santos, Origin and Shell to provide enough gas to cover a predicted shortfall in 2018 and 2019 by increasing supply to the domestic market.

He called on NSW and Victoria to lift bans on gas production.

The Prime Minister has also urged the NSW government to approve a Santos application to drill production wells in the Pilliga State Forest, which is being considered under planning assessment rules.

Ms Berejiklian said the state government had clearly identified areas where gas exploration can and cannot occur, following a review by the NSW Chief Scientist and “community consultation”.

She highlighted the NSW policy of protecting prime agricultural land and water catchment areas from gas mining.

The government has also imposed a two-kilometre buffer zone around residential areas and indicated it will not permit gas activity on the NSW north coast.

“We are not changing our policy,” she said. “I want to make that clear. Our policy stands, our policy is solid.”

Ms Berejiklian said a national approach to gas supply was the best way to reduce prices.

The comments come as the NSW government prepares to fight byelections in Cootamundra and Murray on October 14, including against the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, which defeated it at last year’s Orange byelection.

On Thursday former Nationals leader Troy Grant – who lost his position after the byelection defeat – attacked the Shooters over the gas issue, accusing it of having an “open-slather” policy.

Mr Grant, who is Police Minister, challenged the party to “come clean with the farming community that you allegedly represent. You want an open-slather policy for coal seam gas”.

But Shooters MLC Robert Borsak accused Mr Grant of being “full of hot air”.

He said the party’s policy had not changed for years and included supporting the ban on coal seam gas exploration on prime agricultural land and in areas that threaten the water supply or water table.

The party also believed landowners should have the final say about whether drilling can occur on their land, and be entitled to royalties.

Asked on what basis Mr Grant believed the party had an “open-slather policy”, a spokeswoman said he had no further comment.

Turnbull avoids another tough decision in the region

13/02/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

It’s in the Turnbull government’s DNA to avoid taking creative foreign policy initiatives on sensitive issues, even as democracy and freedoms backslide in countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.
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But the increasingly repressive rule in our neighbourhood pales into insignificance compared to what is happening in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar.

Outrage is mounting over atrocities committed by Myanmar’s security forces in Rakhine State over the past month which have forced almost half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, creating an emergency in squalid refugee camps.

The United Nations calls it ethnic cleansing.

Human Rights Watch says it meets the criteria for crimes against humanity under international law.

If ever there was a time for to stand-up, it is now.

has expressed its deep concern over the violence, provided $20 million in aid to victims and sent a handful of relief experts to Rakhine to assess people’s needs.

It is not enough.

Human rights activists are appalled that insisted on weakening a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Myanmar.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she doesn’t condemn Suu Kyi – who has called allegations against her military “fabrications” while at the same time appearing alarmingly ignorant of the situation, saying last week “we want to find out why this exodus is happening”.

What apologists for her overlook is that she outrageously linked international aid agencies to “terrorist” insurgents, bringing to an abrupt end the delivery of desperately needed aid to tens of thousands of Rohingya still in Myanmar.

To be sure, Suu Kyi is in a difficult position as her country’s military leaders appear to be calling the shots.

And and like-minded countries want to keep Suu Kyi and her government above water in the hope the country’s “transition to democracy” can continue.

But it is clear that both Suu Kyi and the military are in a state of denial.

should take leadership in rallying concerned countries to consider ways to best have an impact on the Myanmar military’s behaviour.

A start would be to stop pandering to Myanmar in the UN human rights council and to cut the n Defence Force’s ties to the country.

What to do if targeted for a tax audit

13/02/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

The Tax Office’s new data matching technology is catching out more taxpayers than ever.
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Tax experts say they have seen a significant increase in the number of “please explain” letters, which can be sent out up to two years after lodging a tax return.

If you’re riding around in the latest sports car and enjoying life in an exotic overseas location, but only declaring income of $10,000 on your tax return, it’s easier than ever for the Tax Office to be aware of your lifestyle.

It’s able to assess the assets you own – cars, properties, boats – and work out how much income you would need to support your lifestyle.

And for those suspected of serious tax evasion, the Tax Office scrapes social media sites to find out a little more about their lifestyles.

Instagram posts in front of a convertible or enjoying the high life in the Caribbean might not sit too comfortably with the Tax Office if income to pay for the lifestyle has not been declared.

Rapid advances in technology enable the Tax Office to drill down to low-level evasion and innocent mistakes.

Tax experts say the Tax Office will be reasonable if the mistakes are innocent, with the shortfall in tax repaid, plus “penalty” interest.

The interest, which is tax deductible, is up to 9 per cent a year. Penalties

There is, however, a range of penalties in the Tax Office’s armoury for more serious offences.

Failure to take reasonable care results in a penalty of 25 per cent of the amount owed. Recklessness incurs a penalty of 50 per cent of the amount owed and intentional disregard attracts a penalty of 75 per cent.

H&R Block tax communications director Mark Chapman says it’s important not to ignore a please explain letter and to give the Tax Office everything it asks for.

“If you fail to co-operate, the Tax Office can impose higher levels of penalty,” he says.

“Tax audits and reviews can be stressful and potentially expensive in terms of extra tax payable, interest and penalties.”

Liz Russell, a senior tax agent at Etax, says taxpayers need to take immediate action as they typically have only two to three weeks to respond.

She says that if you bury your head in the sand and do nothing, the Tax Office will make an adjustment based on what it thinks should apply.

“This year, we are seeing more data matching letters being issued, but that doesn’t mean more people are doing the wrong thing,” she says. Net cast wider

“The Tax Office’s latest technology helps it cast a wider net and catch more errors or unusual deductions claims,” Russell says.

The long arm of the Tax Office is extending beyond the long-standing compliance hot spots of work-related expenses, rental property income and capital gains tax to those earning income from the sharing economy.

The Tax Office says it is looking at those working as Uber drivers, letting rooms on Airbnb and offering services through Airtasker.

As the transactions in the sharing economy are made electronically, they are easy to trace.

Tony Fittler, the managing partner at HLB Mann Judd, Sydney, has also seen an increase in data-matching letters from the Tax Office.

“You have to assume that the Tax Office is getting much more information,” Fittler says.

Tax Office will be specific about what it thinks you have not declared. The letter will state exactly what adjustments it plans to make based on that new-found information.

Russell says in some circumstances little can be done and if you agree with the information in the letter, you do not need to contact the Tax Office.

After the deadline to object passes, the Tax Office will automatically send you an amended assessment.

“But if a taxpayer disagrees with what a Tax Office letter says and has the evidence to support their claims, the Tax Office will usually be understanding and reverse its position,” Russell says. Data matching not infallible

But the Tax Office’s data matching is not infallible, Tony Fittler says.

“It’s important to check the information carefully, as we have found data-matching errors,” he says.

Mark Chapman says being proactive when dealing with the Tax Office can help.

“If you haven’t yet been contacted by the Tax Office, but you become aware that there may have been a mistake in your tax return, then consider submitting an amended tax return or making a voluntary disclosure,” Chapman says.

“This will minimise the likelihood of penalties. The best policy is to stay out of trouble in the first place.”

A “sure-fire” way get into trouble with the Tax Office is failing to declare taxable income, he says.

“Even if you are relying on information pre-filled by the Tax Office itself, the responsibility for ensuring that you’ve included everything you need to rests with you.”

And he says foreign income is a growing area of concern to Tax Office.

It is not only foreign income from employment, but also income-producing assets such as an overseas rental property, as well as income from overseas shares and bank accounts, Chapman says.

Other common triggers for an audit include not disclosing capital gains on the sale of shares and property, he says.

And don’t forget bank interest. n Banks report all the interest they pay to the Tax Office so any discrepancy is easy to pick up, Chapman says. Small businesses

Business people have to be particularly careful, Chapman says.

“If you run a small business and don’t declare all your sales, the Tax Office will often identify that your business performs poorly compared to other similar businesses,” he says.

“They do this by establishing ‘benchmarks; for businesses in certain sectors.

“If your business is outside the benchmark for your sector, expect additional Tax Office scrutiny.”

Work-related expenses is another continuing hot area for Tax Office scrutiny.

Taxpayers, particularly those who doing their tax returns themselves, can easily get it wrong, Chapman says.

“Tax law can be difficult and it can be hard to know what to claim and not what to claim,” he says.

Chapman says the Tax Office is looking closely at work-related deductions, including the deductions of up to $300 that can be made without receipts.

It’s important to claim only for items you actually spent the money on. And even with the first $300 you need to be able to show how those claims were calculated, he says.

“You do need to have spent the money,” he says.

It’s important not to claim private or domestic costs, such as the cost of the car for the daily commute to and from work, which is not an allowable deduction.

Chapman says if in doubt on what to do in response to a query from the Tax Office, seek professional help from an accountant or tax agent.

Liz Russell says a tax agent can communicate with the Tax Office about any special circumstances you’ve faced.

“That could be the difference between whether you get a penalty, or a refund,” she says,

Moore wants to ‘go out the big door’ with repeat of 2010 ‘special win’

13/02/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

Johannesburg: Wallabies stalwart Stephen Moore has been recalled to ‘s bench to face the Springboks at a venue in Bloemfontein he says holds a special place in his heart after a famous victory there in 2010.
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It comes as Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma said it was important for Moore to “go out the big door” at the end of the year with teammates carrying him atop their shoulders after what has been a fine career.

Moore did not feature for the Wallabies in their last match against South Africa in Perth because he was in Brisbane for the birth of his third child.

The 34-year-old was not recalled to the match-day 23 in Canberra a week later but has been given the green light by coach Michael Cheika on the bench, behind starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.

There have been plenty of raps on 20-year-old Melbourne Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese, who now has two Tests under his belt against the Springboks and Pumas.

Some thought his emergence was a sign of Cheika transitioning Moore out the team but the veteran’s experience and grunt will be required against a strong South African pack.

Moore was one of three players, alongside Kurtley Beale and Will Genia, to play in ‘s famous victory in Bloemfontein seven years ago where Beale slotted a penalty after full-time to seal a 41-39 win and end a 47-year drought on the Highveld.

“It was an important game and it was myself and Drew Mitchell’s 50th Tests, so you remember those kind of games and particularly the way it ended,” Moore told Fairfax Media. “I remember when the whistle went they were trying to shut the game down. Wayne Barnes gave us a penalty and that was it, Kurtley stepped up and once he knew he was going to take the kick, he nailed it. It was a great kick and those kind of things you remember for sure.

“After the game, those moments in the dressing room, they’re the kind of things you play for and anyone who was there would say the same thing. It was our first win on the Highveld for a while and it was a pretty special win, and when you look back at everything it was right up there.

“To win here, you need everything to go well and you need preparation to be spot-on.”

Even though Moore will retire from Tests at the end of year, Ledesma said he had so much to offer from a leadership perspective and even imparted his own metaphor for how the 122-cap hooker should finish his career in a gold jersey.

“Cheik and I have been chatting with him and he definitely has an important role to play with us in terms of leadership, in terms of driving standards, in terms of his legacy,” Ledesma said. “For him we need him to finish strong.

“There’s a saying in France: ‘you go out the big door’. It’s like in the corrida, when a toledo wins, he goes out of the big door and somebody is carrying him.

“If we can do that for him and if he can do that for him, that’d be awesome.”

Moore is happy to sail off into the sunset and help a newcomer in Uelese find his feet around the Wallabies set-up two years out from a World Cup that he will no doubt be targeting.

“It’s really good for the team because in two months I won’t be playing any more,” Moore said. “It’s something that we should look positively at. We’ve got a young player that has come up, had two Tests there and shown that he’s capable of playing at this level. I think Taf has been doing a great job as well.

“That is the pleasing thing for the team because it’s an important position and we need to make sure we build more depth there going into the Word Cup.”

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu, another older member of the squad, is adamant competition from younger players is beneficial for a guy like Moore in the twilight of his career.

“He’s come back in and there’s three quality hookers ??? that competition is keeping him hungry,” Kepu said. “We’ve got the younger guys coming through and we’ve got to keep pushing harder than ever.”

Penthouse pet loses defamation bid after court find claims were true

13/02/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

Simone Farrow aka Simone Cheung, charged with drug offences. Image from the Ed Hardy campaign. For Bellinda Kontominas story.A former Penthouse pet’s attempt to sue News Corp for defamation over an article that claimed she was a prostitute and ran a drug ring has been thrown out by the NSW Court of Appeal, partly because the claims were based on her own evidence at her criminal trial.
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Simone Farrow, who is serving a prison sentence for drug smuggling, took action over an article published in The Sunday Telegraph that she said carried the defamatory imputations that she formed a secret sexual relationship with a prison guard in return for being allowed to make phone calls that were not recorded, that she ran a drug ring, had skipped bail, was a prostitute and was convicted of criminal offences.

The story ran under the headline “Drugs, sex and an officer” and alleged that she had sex with a prison guard in exchange for favourable treatment, which Farrow denies.

The NSW District Court rejected her claim as an abuse of process, given some of the claimed imputations were incontrovertibly true – that she had skipped bail, had pleaded guilty to a charge of importing crystal methamphetamine and was sentenced for that offence to a term of 11 years’ imprisonment.

Judge Judith Gibson found the remaining imputations did not justify the cost of the legal action.

Farrow sought to appeal the order in the NSW Court of Appeal, which rejected her application on Thursday.

Justice Lucy McCallum found the story was “plainly defamatory but at least partly true”, and truth was a defence to defamation.

Farrow had argued it was not true that she had bartered sex for favourable treatment and that contrary to the description of her as somebody who had “run” a drug ring, she was one of several principals in the smuggling operation.

But Justice McCallum dismissed the notion that a convicted offender could be entitled to invoke the authority of the court “to vindicate such a nuanced analysis of the findings of the criminal court”.

She also found that it was clear from the story that Farrow was no longer working as a prostitute, and that the reference to her employment history came from her own evidence in the criminal trial, where according to The Sunday Telegraph she told of being conscripted into sex work by her mother to pay for her boarding school fees.

“It would be absurd to allow the applicant to seek a remedy for damage to her reputation caused by the publication of her own evidence,” Justice McCallum said.

Justice John Basten and acting Justice Ronald Sackville agreed.

Farrow was sentenced to a minimum 6?? years in prison in September 2016 over her role in an ice smuggling ring. She was accused of using her role as a swimsuit model as a cover, while concealing the drugs in packets of bath salts.

Will domestic gas prices be higher?

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

While the n gas shortage looks to have been avoided, there are concerns prices will continue to rise.

On Wednesday, the government and the east coast’s three largest gas suppliers agreed to meet the forecast gas gap, meaning the government has avoided pulling the trigger on controversial limits on gas exports, known as the using the n Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM).

The agreement means Shell, Origin and Santos through their Queensland LNG plants will sell a minimum of 54 petajoules of gas into the domestic market through contracts, and keep additional volumes on standby.

Shell has even created a gas trading team to ensure more gas is sold into domestic markets.

While no price restrictions have been placed on these domestic supplies, the companies have agreed to greater transparency in their contracts.

However, research forecasts these prices will be higher than the benchmarks set by the n Competition and Consumer Commission, and that the ADGSM would not have reversed this or driven down costs.

“We do not believe [the ADGSM] will be wielded to push prices below cost, nor even bring prices in line with cost,” First NZ Capital said.

Even the new agreement, known as the voluntary Gas Supply Guarantee (GSG), is unlikely to lead to a massive reduction in prices.

“We reiterate our view that the intervention in gas markets will not bring down gas prices to below $6 per gigajoule,” UBS Securities said in a report.

UBS analysts said the increased transparency and scrutiny would, however, ensure less gas was offered to market above the $10 per gigajoule watermark.

This position was supported by First NZ Capital.

“Wholesale prices will remain in the $7 to $10 per gigajoule range, which is consistent with recent domestic spot prices,” FNZC said.

Analysts reiterated their belief that the best way to bring down gas prices was to bring more supply online in the coming months. They said this would create a more stable price and eliminate periods of scarcity pricing that drove the domestic spot price to its recent highs for commercial and industrial customers.

“With Gippsland Basin gas forecast to decline materially in 2018, diversion of gas from LNG in Queensland is not sufficient to maintain balanced markets in the medium to long term, more gas supplies are needed,” UBS said.

Yet, the situation could have been worse, analysts said.

” is somewhat fortunate for this domestic gas crisis to have coincided with a period of low oil prices and global LNG oversupply,” FNZC said.

The nation and industry waits to see if its “luck” continues.

The case for splitting the cost of having a baby

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

It has been more than two years since the then-treasurer, Joe Hockey, famously denounced certain child-rearing women as double-dippers.

His comments about women receiving paid parental leave from the government and their employer – on Mother’s Day no less – were as memorably misguided in timing as the policy change he was flagging was in substance.

Despite the image of money-hungry rorting mothers depicted by Hockey, I am yet to meet a single parent who has had their bank balance handsomely boosted upon welcoming a small child into the world. Babies have plenty going for them but they’re hardly cash-positive.

Just before the 2015 budget was handed down by the Abbott government, Hockey announced the paid-leave entitlements for parents who exit the workplace to have a baby would be cut.

It was curious not only because just a few months earlier the very same government had been spruiking its intentions to substantially increase paid-leave entitlements. To go from there to hacking into the already-modest entitlements was confusing, but to understand how injudicious that was, it’s necessary to understand the policy settings.

At first glance, paid parental leave might appear to be a flagrant luxury, the type of middle-class welfare that simply isn’t necessary. Dig into the numbers and the research, however, and it’s clear it is an astute investment with social and economic upside.

The reason Westpac introduced paid parental leave back in 1997 – the first n corporation to do so – wasn’t simply an act of generosity: paying women on maternity leave was a lot cheaper than losing them.

For the government, the economic benefits of providing paid parental leave are twofold – it can grow the tax pool by increasing female workforce participation and deliver long-term savings in health.

The 2009 Productivity Commission report identifies lower long-term health costs as a benefit of providing mothers 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In 2010, Labor introduced ‘s first paid parental leave scheme to enhance child and maternal wellbeing and support parents’ workforce participation.

That policy provides the primary carer of an infant up to 18 weeks of the minimum wage, currently a little over $670 a week before tax, which can be received in conjunction with any parental leave paid by the parent’s employer. Rather than being an oversight, this duality was critical for two reasons.

First, it split the cost between government and business and second, it would help get as many new parents in as possible as close to 26 weeks’ paid leave as possible.

The idea of parents being able to receive only one payment was ludicrous, according to Sydney University professor Marian Baird, who was involved in developing the original policy.

“This really undermines the architecture of the scheme and its original philosophy,” Baird told Fairfax Media, back in 2015.

“And to now say that mothers are double-dipping is just rude and cruel – it’s an outrageous attack on mothers because that was the plan of the scheme.”

For context, back in 1970, 47 years ago, an average of 17 weeks of paid leave was available to mothers across OECD countries. By 1990, this had increased to 39 weeks, while by 2014 the OECD average stood at just over one year.

The United Kingdom provides 39 weeks of paid leave, Canada 50 weeks and Sweden 60 weeks. Yet here, in 2017, offers parents 18 weeks at the minimum wage.

It’s worth remembering.

Georgina Dent is a journalist, editor and TV commentator with a keen focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

letters to the editor September 29 2017

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

WAITING: An early-morning express service to Sydney must stop at Cardiff station, says reader John Matthews.WOW,I have just finished reading myNewcastle Heraldfront page news (“Fast track: early-morning express train slashes 26 minutes off Sydney trip”,Herald,28/09). This sound fantastic until you start to read the small print.

Then you realise it really is a shocker, especially if you live in the Lake Macquarie area. It might be okay if you live in say Speers Point or Belmont, butyou either have to backtrack to Broadmeadow or drive 45 minutes down the road to Morisset.

POLITICAL FOOTBALL: Robert Crosby argues sporting codes including the NRL have already waded into the political arena before the same-sex marriage debate.

In that case you might as well drive yourself all the way to Sydney.Surely it is the case to try to get more people on the trains than for them to drive themselves.

If a closer look at the stops you see that Wyong, Tuggerah, Gosford all are in close proximity to one another, so the question is ifthis is a trial, why not drop Tuggerah and install either Cardiff or Fassifern?

Both of these stations have long platforms now, and I think patronage would be increased. You cover a broader patronage thisway, and it offers amuch fairer breakdown of the stops.

John Matthews,Belmont NorthTRIAL AND ERRORHUNTER commuters –twostops.Central Coast – fivestops. Sydney – threestops?

For any commuterresidingwest or south of Broadmeadow, their only option for the newly announced Newcastle to Sydney fast-train trialis Morisset.

You had might as well just keep driving to Sydney.

Take a look at Cardiff and Fassifern’s car parks on a daily basis,let alone the streets surrounding them.Both are well-used stops for Sydney commuters.I think you call it no idea.

Michelle Toohey,BarnsleyPOLITICAL GAMESIN the lead-up to the two major grand finals this weekend, the marriage equality postal survey has been an unwanted presence to the dismay of numerous members of the public.

There is a view that sport should be apolitical given its broad appeal and focus on inclusivity.

Now while there is a degree of merit to that argument, in that people use sport to disconnect, the escapist quality of sport as entertainment has frequently engaged in politicised acts.

Take for instance the National Rugby League. Annually the NRL has devoted resources and competition rounds to issues including women, Indigenous ns, domestic violence, mental health and numerous other political causes. Every aspect of our culture is a reflection of the political climate we exist within; film, television, music, art, fashion and yes, even sport, reflect the politics of the day.

Comments from NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg have indicated the inclusive nature of rugby league as being compatible with the ‘Yes’ campaign.

On Sunday night, US rapper Macklemore will perform ‘Same Love’ during the pre-match entertainment, a call to arms in favour of the rights and better treatment of LGBTQ people across the world.These are political actions, just as the sport’s workraising awareness of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ns or condemning domestic violence are political actions.

Even the weak responses by major sporting bodies to player misbehaviour reflect the political climate of the day.

Sport is considered the unifier of society, so it cannot adopt mutually exclusive positions of remaining non-political while advocating for inclusivity and equality.

For too long the view that religion and politics aren’t discussed in public has existed to the detriment of progress.

Sport is particularly ingrained in n life, as ns we espouse the value of a ‘fair go’ for all. If we believe that value to be true, then sport has to take a political stand.

Robert Crosby,WaratahSUPPORT LESS THAN LOVINGSO Frances Abbot votes ‘yes’ for “fairness, love and family”? Trouble is you have to decide just who gets the “fairness, love and family”. Will it be the small percentage of same-sex couples that will actually marry?

Or will it be the rest of us who otherwise would be subjected to restrictions on free speech,indoctrination of our children into certain sexual practices and gender confusion; genderless bathrooms; denial of the natural right of children to both of their biological parents,and freedom from litigation for businesses, educational institutions and not-for-profits who do not wish to promote the LGBQTI agenda?

How much “fairness, love and family” will the rest of us get?

The Canadian experiment has already shown you can’t have it both ways.

Jeanette Ball,CarringtonDISTURBING DIRECTIONGENERATION useless is consuming mankind. Gone are the days of common sense and an eagerness to put in a good day’s work. It’s all about entitlements, sickies and what’s owed these days.

We have the do-gooders and the AAP, that being the Anti-n Party otherwise known as the Greens, to thank for this generation of useless individuals.Half of them can’t even get out of their own way.

Like I’ve said before, you wonder where we are heading as a human race.

Brad Hill,SingletonBAGGING OUT PLASTICIN response to Maree Eggleston (Letters, Herald, 26/9)who wrote about “grabbing a big handful” of plastic bags at the checkout to pick up her cat’s poo.

For all of us who saw theWar on Waste on the ABC a few months ago and are attempting to cut out waste and giving up single use plastic bags, I shuddered at the thought of anyone increasing their supply of bags.

Our household has decreased our waste and only uses the occasional plastic bag now (one per week normally).

Animal poo can be picked up with a rubber glove or shovel and placed in paper or flushed down the toilet.

I do hope that Woolworths and Coles will soon give us a viable alternative in replacement bags and perhaps return to the days of heavy duty paper bags or adopt Aldi’s solution and replace single use bags with reusable ones.

Other n states have banned the bags and have found solutions. We can do it too.

Denise Lindus Trummel,Mayfield

All the omens line up

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

FISH OF THE WEEK: Jackson King, 10, from Singleton, wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 45cm bass caught in a local impoundment.

The earth turns, moons roll by and summer fishing is starting to unleash, according to Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse, at Marks Point.

“The amount of whiting on the beaches and throughout most estuaries is ahead of the curve as air and water temps begin to rise,” Jason said.

“Tying into that has been the Spring equinox which occurred in the southern hemisphere on or around September 22.

“The days are now officially longer the nights, which may or not appeal to fish, but certainly pleases many fishos.”

It also affects the tides, which may impact on whether you catch a fish this weekend.

“We’’re in what I call the ‘neap’ between winter and summer fishing,” Jason said. “Around the equinox you find the tidal water movements are much less, meaning you don’t get a real big high or low tide.

“This week there’s only half a metre difference between high and low.

“Consequently there might not be so much flow in your local estuaries, and many anglers will try and tell you, ‘no flow, no go’.

“The good news is that from now on each day, the tidal movements will increase and more importantly for local fisho’s they’ll swing over to the morning and we’ll see bigger tides build.”

Tying further into this earthy overview is the moon cycle.

“We’re heading into a new full moon on October 6, and traditionally seven to 10 days after that we should see the first prawn run of the year in Lake Macquarie and other local estuaries,” Jason said.

“That will be the real trigger for summer fishing to kick off as all the fish will move in to feed.

“Given we haven’t had that much rain lately, and that the Lake prawns are not so much affected by lack of water compared to river prawns because the lake is a catchment, I’m thinking we may see some really nice prawns on the go from October 14 onwards.”

Whiting bitingWhiting have made an early showbiting on tube worms along beaches and most estuaries in plentiful numbers.

Condition is a bit down, but expect that to improve once the prawns start running.

As we build to the full moon, expect the jew to come on. There’s already been plenty of reports of fish up to 90cm responding to squid of a night in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle Harbour and Port Stephens.

Estuary anglers have also been dining out on bream, flounder and tailor.

Flathead have begun moving out of the bays where they’ve holed up for the winter and into shallower water.

Offshore, there still plenty of barracouta about, as well as snapper and bonito.

Last week there werereports of yellowfin in deep water, east of Broken Bay, and if the weather gods are kind this weekend, which they may be on Sunday, it might be worth a shot in the 1000-fathom mark.

“All the key indicators are there –good water temps and lots of slimey mackerel about,” Jason said.

“Don’t be surprised if there’s the odd striped marlin about too. One was hooked last weekend off Sydney.

“What most Hunter game fishos did last year was wait until December/January and they’d already gone past.

“So this year look for a more concerted effort to get out early and meet the stripes as they move down.”

Trophy tagsMark “Wilba” Williams is now issuing DPI kits to a select group of anglers to intiate the tagging program as part of the Lake’s newfound Trophy Flathead Fishery status.

Under the program, anglers are encouraged to catch and release any ‘”trophy’’ flathead over 70cm, and where possible tag them.

“We’re distributing the kits to 10 recognised lake anglers,” Wilba said.

“The pink tags will be located on the second dorsal fin and if you happen to recatch a big tagged flathead, we encourage you to ideally let it go again, or if you keep it, inform DPI of the tag number and where you caught it.”

The point of the Trophy program, which is also being trialled in Tuross and the St George’s Basin, is twofold.

One, to give more people more chance to enjoy catching an iconic sportsfishing specie into the future, and two, to gather important scientific data on movements and breeding.

“The concept of species management is pretty simple,” DPI scientist Jim Harnwell said.

“If you don’t kill the fish, you can catch it again.

“Survival rates for flathead are almost 100 per cent, so if you let the big one’s go, people can keep coming back and catch a big fish. That in turn has an economic flow-on for the local area.

“One big lizard down at St Georges Basin has been recaught three times in 12 months.

“Furthermore, data suggests flathead over 70cm carry 12 times as many eggs as smaller flatheads, so they are a significant breeders.”

‘Overdue’ review of family law wasn’t Pauline Hanson’s idea, says Brandis

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

Attorney-General George Brandis has criticised One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for trying to take credit for a family law review, saying the Turnbull government had been planning the examination of the much-criticised system for years.

Senator Hanson said “no one within the government was interested in dealing with family law until I returned to Parliament and hounded both the Attorney-General and Prime Minister.”

But Senator Brandis said on Thursday, “it would be a stretch to say that we are having this review because Senator Hanson urged it upon us. It is something I have wanted to do for quite some time, going back to before Senator Hanson was a member of Parliament.”

The first comprehensive review of family law in nearly half a century will examine how to make the system faster and less adversarial.

The n Law Reform Commission will conduct the review in response to near-blanket criticism of the system from people who have gone through it, child protection and family violence advocates, parental rights campaigners, lawyers and former members of the judiciary.

The review was first announced in the May budget and the terms of reference were released on Wednesday.

Senator Brandis said the review was “necessary and long overdue” because “n families and their needs have significantly evolved since the 1970s” when the Family Law Act came into operation.

A coalition of groups says a royal commission is the only mechanism to adequately address the problems with the family law system.

Some of the groups that called for a royal commission include child protection organisation Bravehearts, Lone Fathers, the National Council for Single Mothers and Children, and the Luke Batty Foundation.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the family law system was a “toxic institution” and only a royal commission was “capable of overcoming the constitutional, legal and jurisdictional hurdles” that prevented its problems from being thoroughly examined.

The president of the Law Council of , Fiona McLeod, welcomed the review and said it was vital a lack of resources for the courts and legal aid was addressed.

“What we are seeing is families coming before the courts – they might have an interim hearing coming on before a judge who has 30 cases on their list with approximately 10 to 20 minutes to decide each of those cases and those outcomes can last a very long time until final orders are made. You might have a child of 6 months come before the court for a determination about who they live with and it is not until they are two or three years old until a final determination is made. That places enormous pressure on families who are already under pressure because of breakdowns, financial and emotional pressure,” Ms McLeod said.

Ms McLeod called for an immediate funding injection to help the legal system deal with its staggering case load.

She pointed to the example of a judge appointed to the Federal Circuit Court earlier this year who was immediately handed 500 cases, as well as the slow replacement rate of retiring judges.

Senator Brandis hinted there could be more funding for the overstretched courts and acknowledged that “we have put more judges into the system to deal with family law”.

The review will be conducted by family law expert Helen Rhoades???, a professor at the Melbourne Law School and a former chair of the Family Law Council.

Professor Rhoades will complete the report by the end of March 2019.

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